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House votes to override governor's first veto

(MGNOnline.com photo)

RALEIGH. (AP) - The Latest on the possible override of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto that would return Superior Court and District Court elections to become officially partisan races (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

One chamber of the North Carolina legislature has agreed to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's first veto of a Republican measure that makes local trial court elections officially partisan again.

The GOP-controlled House voted Wednesday to cancel the measure, collecting several more "yes" votes than required by the state Constitution. The override still must occur in the Senate for the bill to become law. Republicans also firmly control the Senate.

District Court and Superior Court elections are currently nonpartisan, with candidate party affiliations not listed on the ballot. The bill would revert to party primaries as well.

Bill sponsor GOP Rep. Justin Burr of Albemarle says going back to partisan elections would give voters information about a candidate's judicial philosophy. But former judge Rep. Joe John of Raleigh says the bill would harm the independence of the judiciary.

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1:50 a.m.

Republican legislative leaders are deciding whether they've got the votes to cancel Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's first veto of a GOP bill making local trial court elections officially partisan again.

The House placed the vetoed measure on its floor debate calendar Wednesday, but doesn't have to act right away. At least three-fifths of House and Senate members voting would have to agree to override for the law to be enacted. The bill is one of several pieces of GOP legislation designed to reshape the state's courts or weaken Cooper.

Cooper says judges shouldn't be chosen based on party labels, but on experience and other qualifications.

Republicans say voters know very little about judicial candidates and that having parties by their names gives the public more information about them.

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